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The Buzz Around Town for March 26
Keep Calm and Carry On!
Chris Swan
Life right now feels like being trapped in a video game and someone has just pushed the reset button. Past levels (routines and lifestyles) no longer exist or have been greatly modified. Everyone is struggling to find the “new rules”. Frustrations abound as guidelines seem to change daily, if not hourly. In the old game, we knew how to function, get ahead and score points, but now a new villain lurks, and he is invisible. In these early weeks of the virus, we are all a bit skeptical and fearful of how this game is going to be played out. However, as any good gamer knows, when you are the underdog, it’s time to change your strategy.
    Keep calm and wash your hands!
    Last fall I attended a conference with keynote speaker from England who experienced living through World War II in Europe. She told harrowing tales of how it felt to be hunkered down in a London home with air raids overhead, sirens screaming and bombs dropping all around. She went on to tell of Winston Churchill who gave a radio address to a vulnerable and battered nation in the face of invasion with the simple message to keep calm and carry on.
    Without a doubt, we are currently at war. An unchecked invasion of the Coronavirus will overwhelm our health care system much like Italy. Every day matters. Every effort to prevent the spread allows our health care system to handle the crisis as it evolves. The rules have changed. But keep calm and carry on with a new strategy.
    As I type this morning the latest rule change is to stay at home and shelter in. NO unnecessary contact with anyone outside your family. There is such a landslide of advice and survival tips out there, I am not going to compete with some of the wonderful ideas but want to focus on us as a community.
    Keep calm and shelter in does not equate to inaction. Consider the following to help those who may be struggling right now. How we emerge on the other side of this depends on how we act today. We are a community and we heavily rely and depend on one another for services and support that are being limited due to the virus. As the days turn into weeks please consider the following:
    •Check on your neighbors (phone call), especially if there are kids in the house or they are elderly.
    •Offer to pick up groceries or medications for the elderly.
    •Write letters—especially to the older folks, they are from the letter writing generation and it means so much.
    •Support the drive through food establishments that are open.
    •Connect with family or friends on platforms such as Zoom, Skype or Facetime. Our family has been doing exercise sessions together on Zoom connecting us to Texas and other places in Wisconsin.
    •Get outside for a walk, fishing, kite flying or do sidewalk art. Being outside helps relieve stress and anxiety.
    •If you know someone who struggles with anxiety or depression now is the time to call and offer reassurance that this is just a season and we will soon be on the other side.
    •Purchase gift certificates from local businesses to help them through this tough time.
    •Donate food items to The Depot Food Pantry or The Lunch Ladies food assistance operation.
    •If you know a healthcare worker, they need your support more than ever as hunkering down is not an option for them. The emotional strain on them during this pandemic can be very overwhelming to say the least.
    •Share packaged food items or gift certificates with your friends and neighbors who have suddenly found themselves without a job.
    •Thank a truck driver!
    •Remember our nursing home residents at Divine Health care. They have been quarantined to their room for two weeks already.
    •Consider sewing face masks if you know of a place that is accepting them.
    •Reassure kids! Make a daily schedule or routine to offset anxiety and embrace the opportunity for family time. You choose the memory you make.
    •Be kind, forgiving and pay it forward if you can!

    None of us have weathered this before, but looking around the world, we know we are not alone. Keep calm, carry on and love your neighbor because we’re all in this together.